Meet Blake Deneweth, the musical maverick behind DINNERSWORTH, reshaping punk with heartfelt anthems.
In the world of indie punk, DINNERSWORTH is that fresh breeze you didn’t know you needed. Meet Blake Deneweth, the creative force behind the project, who’s been on this musical ride since 2016, ever since he swapped dusty fields for the lively scene of Twin Cities, MN.
His latest tune, ‘Apart,’ is a pure shot of pop punk goodness – think upbeat rhythms, catchy melodies, and distorted guitars that’ll make you want to jump around. Lyrically, it’s classic pop punk fare, delving into the complexities of relationships and the journey of self-discovery.
From Blink-182 to Say Anything, DINNERSWORTH’s musical DNA is a mixtape of influences, blending into a unique sound. 2022 saw the release of “The Demos,” crafted entirely on his iPhone, and using nothing but a Shure mic, and a bunch of instruments, including one of our favs – an old Casio – proving that you don’t need a fancy studio to make great music.
It was all just stuff he made for family and friends. But when they wanted an easier way to listen to his tunes, he casually tossed it all onto streaming services. Next thing he knows, music career launched. That my friends is the magic of happy accidents.
Away from the music, Blake’s your regular guy, rocking black shirts, surveying land, and indulging in some hearty meals. His one-meal-a-day regimen has seen him shed some serious weight, and he’s feeling better than ever.
When asked what makes him happy, it’s simple things: music, good food, and experiencing life in all its ups and downs. For Blake, DINNERSWORTH isn’t just music; it’s a way of expressing the beauty and complexity of life through sound.
Happy: What are you up to today?
DINNERSWORTH: I am currently writing and recording songs for my upcoming album, “Buried”!
Happy: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?
DINNERSWORTH: Well, I’m originally from Benson. It’s a very small town in southern Arizona that sits 40ish minutes south of Tucson.
It has a Walmart and a couple fast food restaurants, but other than that, it’s a bunch of empty desert. I grew up playing video games and running around dirt fields.
I lived there until I was 19 and then I moved to northern Minnesota in a very dramatic change of pace. I eventually found my way to the Twin Cities area.
Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota are bursting with a ton of new music! There are shows every single night that can range from jazz to metal.
There are a ton of new indie and punk acts that are popping up all the time and the local scene is starving for passion!
Happy: Describe an average day?
DINNERSWORTH: I wake up, throw on a black shirt, black pants, and some black Vans and go to work as a land surveying and civil engineering technician.
Then, when I get home, I eat my one meal that typically consists of 6 eggs and then something random like potatoes or steak or something.
I eat one meal per day and do a 23 hour fast everyday. I have gone from 300 lbs, down to 230 in the past year doing this and I feel great!
After my one meal, I will tend to some house chores and then I’ll finish the night with writing music or playing video games.
Both activities help my mind escape reality and I definitely need it. I am a huge overthinker and I have a big problem turning my brain off at night.
Sometimes, I’ll just be in bed endlessly thinking of weird drum beats or guitar parts and it will keep me up all night.
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Happy: What did you listen to growing up that fuelled your passion for music?
DINNERSWORTH: It’s super strange because I always had music around me. I never really connected with it until Guitar Hero 1 came out.
My grandpa played piano and guitar and my dad plays guitar. My dad tried to teach me the basic chords on guitar but I was too stubborn to learn.
I just wanted to learn Crazy Train by Ozzy and that’s it. I had pretty much given up on guitar until Guitar Hero came out.
I played that game as much as I could. I thought it was so cool and I used to watch the “behind the scenes” videos on how they had to make a cover each song because they couldn’t get the licensing for the music and through those videos, I wanted to play guitar again.
After years and years of teaching myself, I finally ended up learning my chords and more.
Playing music has been one of the only outlets that I have felt comfortable expressing myself and I think that’s where the real passion comes from.
This was a very long and elaborate way to say that I listened to the 70s and 80s as I grew up.
Happy: Your latest album, “The Demos,” showcases a wide range of genres. What inspired you to experiment with such a diverse sonic palette?
DINNERSWORTH: Really, it was the music that I was listening to at the time. I listen to a lot of Blink 182, Jeff Rosenstock, and Say Anything.
Jeff Rosenstock is so experimental with his sound. My song “Burning Out” has a verse that switches to bluegrass and that was directly inspired by Jeff Rosenstock.
Say Anything’s frontman Max Bemis writes very elaborate lyrics and intentionally keeps each section of his songs interesting. I absorbed that sentiment and try to change something each and every section.
Whether it’s a drum beat or a guitar riff, I’m constantly changing something. Blink 182, was my first intro into pop-punk and is my north star for my pop sound and for my “punky” parts. A lot of my 2 or 3 part harmonies are inspired by Blink 182.
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Happy: Can you tell us more about the creative process behind “The Demos”? How did recording on an iPhone with minimal equipment contribute to the album’s unique sound?
DINNERSWORTH: “The Demos” was a culmination of a couple years of ideas that I wanted to finish. If you were to look through my iPhone and Mac, you’d find 200+ unfinished song ideas.
I have many full songs that have the music completely done, but have no lyrics yet. Lyrics are the hardest part for me.
I wrote my songs on an iPhone because that’s all I had. It’s crazy that all iPhones come with GarageBand and all you need is an iRig and a cheap microphone and you can start writing music!
As you listen through my music, you will notice that each song has a different mix. I refuse to join a record label or to outsource my mixing/mastering, so some songs, I get it pretty close to professional quality, and some songs sound pretty rough, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I want to continue to refine my quality as I release album after album and by the end, maybe I’ll have a super clean sounding record, but until then, I’m trying my best!
Happy: Your musical influences range from Say Anything to Jeff Rosenstock and Blink 182. How do these diverse inspirations come together to shape the DINNERSWORTH sound?
DINNERSWORTH: They all exist within the same realm sonically. They each have their own distinct sounds, but they are all very passionate and aggressive sounding.
I tend to place loud and passionate above perfection when it comes to recording and mixing quality. Some of my favorite albums are Dude Ranch by Blink 182, Goodbye Cool World by Bomb The Music Industry and all of The Rarities by Say Anything.
These are arguably their roughest sounding albums as far as production quality goes, but you can feel the emotion with every single word that they say.
I try my hardest to push my emotions through my songs because of my influences.
You’ll hear double time punk beats that come from Blink and Jeff, but you’ll also hear a bouncing guitar riff that I’d attribute to Say Anything.
It’s all over the place, but it’s all together if that makes sense.
Happy: You mentioned accidentally starting your music career by dropping “The Demos” on streaming services. Can you share more about that serendipitous moment and how it influenced your musical journey?
DINNERSWORTH: Haha, yeah. So, over the years, I had been sending my various music ideas to my brothers and sisters and a couple of my friends over iPhones “voice memos”.
It’s great for listening to songs one by one, but they couldn’t listen to multiple songs in a row, and just wanted to be able to put them on and listen while they drove to work and stuff like that.
My little brother Ethan (who shows up as the voice during the start and ending of “Apart”) said “you need to get these songs on Spotify!”.
After that, I did some research and found a couple places to drop my music, and without any marketing at all, I dropped “The Demos”.
It’s 11 songs that I had finished between 2016 and 2022 and you can really hear the production differences as you move from song to song.
After I dropped “The Demos” I decided, “who cares what anyone thinks about my music.
If I personally like the sound of the music that I make, I’m just going to drop it!”
Happy: DINNERSWORTH is known for pushing boundaries and embracing musical exploration. Can you describe a moment where you felt you truly broke free from artistic constraints?
DINNERSWORTH: It was when I wrote “Burning Out”. I had the whole song written and recorded with a traditional punk verse for verse 2.
I liked it a little bit but the more I listened, the more bored I got, so I decided to scrap it. I literally deleted all of my recorded tracks and started fresh.
I had just recently bought a Dean 6 string Banjitar (which is a banjo that is strung like a full scale guitar and is meant to be tuned to E-standard) and I wanted to try it out, so I slowly transitioned verse 2 into a bluegrass song.
I knew that bassline had to be bouncy and that I wanted a banjo rhythm section. I also recorded a slide guitar solo in the background.
After I finished that song, I realized that you can do whatever you want in music, as long as it sounds good.
There will always be one person who will listen to your songs, as long as you enjoy the music that you write.
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Happy: Your song “Apart” delves into the complexities of a collapsing relationship. Can you share the emotions and experiences that inspired this track, and how you translated them into music?
DINNERSWORTH: “Apart” was written from the viewpoint of the person who doesn’t want the relationship to end.
The more obsessed party. The chorus expresses that the relationship was never really meant to last, but it’s heartbreaking that it has to end nonetheless.
I’ve known people who have had rough breakups, I’ve been heartbroken before, and with social media, there is endless example of the human experience to draw inspiration from.
I use my personal experiences with heartbreak for the base emotion for most of my songs and then I’ll usually create a new scenario in my head and apply my personal pain to it.
So, the story of the song might not necessarily by my own, but the sadness or heaviness that I display is always 100% genuine.
Happy: In “Apart,” there’s a shift from desperation to a literal panic attack. How did you approach conveying such intense emotions through your music, both lyrically and sonically?
DINNERSWORTH: I know what it feels like to slowly lose the person that you love. At a certain point, you feel like you can’t get them back no matter what you do.
In verse 1, I become self aware that I am pathetic. In verse 2, I’m spiraling into a literal panic attack after I realize that it’s all over.
I’ve had panic attacks in real life and sometimes it feels like a heart attack. Your chest gets really tight and it feels like you are collapsing in on yourself.
I sonically express a panic by switching from a quick heartbeat like beat at the start of verse 2 and then I switch to a palm mute aggressive tone by the end of it.
Happy: You’ve been on a musical journey since 2016. How do you feel your sound and style have evolved over the years, and what milestones have been pivotal in shaping DINNERSWORTH’s identity?
DINNERSWORTH: My sound and style have changed so much since 2016! If you listen to “The Demos” you can hear all of my phases.
“Broken Record” was the first song that I wrote and it has no real structure (even though it’s a BANGER!) it has the same revolving lyrics that serve a purpose.
As you move from that, to songs like “Crazy”, you’ll see where the genre experimentation takes me. “Crazy” sounds kinda like Jet or Blur or something.
Other songs like “Twenties” and “Thread” have a closer relationship to Jeff Rosenstock and acts like that.
The pivotal moment to my sound was discovering Jeff Rosenstock and his previous band Bomb The Music Industry. I had always listened to Blink 182 and Say Anything, but when I heard the raw and experimental sound of Jeff, it taught me that music is about sounding good.
It’s not always about sticking to a certain genre or style. If it sounds good, it sounds good. Period.
Happy: What’s the most memorable feedback or reaction you’ve received from a listener about your music, and how did it impact you as an artist?
DINNERSWORTH: The most memorable feedback that I have received has to be that I sound distinct.
It wasn’t even a positive review, but they said that I have a distinct sound and it stuck with me in a positive way!
Happy: Looking ahead, what can fans of DINNERSWORTH expect in terms of future projects or musical directions? Are there any new genres or collaborations on the horizon?
DINNERSWORTH: There is a ton of new stuff coming! I have my current album “Buried” coming out by the end of this year, and I already have plans for 2 separate albums coming out next year that I’m already starting to work on.
My whole goal is to get better and better at music production with each album that I release and I’ll eventually start finishing my 200+ song ideas.
So, I’ll be dropping new music probably until the day I die!
Happy: Lastly, what makes you happy?
DINNERSWORTH: A lot of things make me happy! Music makes me happy! Food is super awesome.
Experiencing new things makes me happy. Being able to be alive and take in life (the good and bad) is such a blessing that we all take for granted sometimes.
I guess I’m saying that the fact that I’m able to experience life brings me the most joy!
Keep your earholes open for DINNERSWORTH forthcoming album drop ‘Buried’ here.